A frequently asked question is: “What’s the difference between an accountant and a tax advisor? Surely, they’re the same, right?” – Well, they certainly have their similarities however they are not the same. The best way to look at it is an accountant is a general practitioner of sorts, while a tax advisor specialist Doctor. So, what kind of remedy are you looking for? How poorly is your business?
Any decent accountant worth their salt should have a very good grasp of the ever-changing tax laws, however the chances are that they won’t be as up-to-date or knowledgeable in that regard as a dedicated tax advisor would. So, if you seem to have your house in order and you don’t feel as though you have much to worry about, then an accountant will suit your needs just fine. And of course, should you require specialist advice when it comes to tax laws, a worthy accountant is going to ensure that their client has everything that they need. (It’s nothing that a phone call to a colleague or an associate can’t solve)
So, if you’ve established that you don’t necessarily need a dedicated tax advisor, next you need to know how to find a good accountant. Again, a decent accountant will have a balanced knowledge and will be able to help you transform your business, reduce the amount you pay in tax and ultimately help you get the most out of your company.
Do Your Research
It’s important not to rush into anything when it comes to settling on your accountant. The truth is that most companies and accountants will be qualified, certified and more than capable to offer you sound advice, – however, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t cow-boys out there.
Remember, your business is your baby and you don’t want to be sharing your sensitive information with just anyone. So, the first course of action is to find out what qualifications and licensing that a prospective accountant has. Who doesn’t like talking about themselves? Accountants work terribly hard to qualify and have to work continuously to advance their career and stay up to date with regulations, so – you shouldn’t have any issues finding out whether or not they are who they say they are. If you’re not entirely sure about what you should be looking for, head over to the Australian Accounting Standards Board for more information.
Reputation, Fees and Your Gut Instinct
If you’ve heard of the accountant before, that’s a good sign. Perhaps try asking around with friends and family to see if they have had any dealings with them before. Word of mouth is a good way to feel out a business. Next, how affordable and realistic are their fees? Find out exactly how much their services will cost you and how they’re expected to be paid. Finally, go with your gut. It’s all about who you feel the most comfortable with at the end of the day!